RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Preparing for his final race before retirement in the Olympic velodrome, Bradley Wiggins' phone flashed with a message.

"Don't think records. Think medal," the British cyclist recalled reading. "It's about going out and killing off opposition now. Stay relaxed in the line. Deliver. You'll become the greatest by end of play because you are.

"But think about killing them off, the records come naturally if you don't chase them, just chase the opposition."

They were just the reassuring words Wiggins needed before riding to victory on Friday in the team pursuit at the Rio de Janeiro Games. And they were written by Shane Sutton, the brash Australian who was technical director of British Cycling before leaving under a cloud in April.

Sutton quit after being suspended while under investigation for making discriminatory remarks. It seemed quite a setback for the all-conquering British cycling project ahead of the Olympics. But Britain has remained the leading force in Rio de Janeiro, with Sutton remaining a private mentor to some of his former charges.

Wiggins was part of the gold medal-winning team pursuit that enabled him to become Britain's most decorated Olympian with eight medals.

Wiggins is hoping the mastermind of British glory at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics regains his job, believing there isn't sufficient evidence to find Sutton guilty of wrongdoing.

Female cyclist Jess Varnish accused Sutton of making derogatory comments about her body shape and told her to "move on and have a baby" after she failed to qualify for this year's Olympics, according to a British newspaper account. Para-cyclist Darren Kenny also alleged that he heard Sutton refer to members of the disability team in derogatory terms. Sutton denies wrongdoing.

"He wants to come back," Wiggins said. "I spoke to him two weeks ago and he said his life is pretty empty without this. I think he has the right to. Why not?"

Although Wiggins accepts interim team leader Andy Harrison has "steadied the ship," the former Tour de France winner said Sutton should be credited with the Rio success.

"All this stuff is a result of (Sutton's) work," Wiggins said. "He was in charge of it. He put all the foundations in place for this week, over years.

"I came back to the track squad because he was in charge, he encouraged me to come back and I probably wouldn't have come back, had it been somebody else in charge 18 months ago."


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